Marijuana is a popular recreational drug that can create feelings of relaxation and change how reality is perceived. Marijuana’s active ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol (commonly referred to as THC), is what causes people to feel a “high” when using the drug. While many people view marijuana and the THC it contains as relatively harmless, using marijuana can negatively affect your blood pressure and overall health.
What Is Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure refers to the pressure of the blood in your arteries. This pressure is essential to pushing blood through the system and getting oxygen to every cell of the body. Blood pressure that is too low will not deliver enough oxygen, while blood pressure that is too high can damage the arteries and lead to blocked blood flow.
Blood pressure constantly changes in waves and is measured using two values. Systolic blood pressure is the maximum value; it is measured when the heart is contracting, causing blood pressure to be at its highest. Diastolic blood pressure is the minimum value and is measured when the heart is resting.
Does Marijuana Raise or Lower Blood Pressure?
There is conflicting information on what effect marijuana has on your blood pressure, but most experts find that marijuana raises blood pressure. Several studies show that using marijuana increases systolic blood pressure immediately after use. However, other research suggests that long-term marijuana use can lead to decreased blood pressure.
How Does CBD Affect Blood Pressure?
Information about whether cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive chemical found in marijuana, can actually improve blood pressure is conflicting. Some studies show that using CBD does not have any effect on blood pressure. Other research shows that CBD may lower blood pressure in those who are stressed.
One of the potential uses being explored for CBD involves stress reduction. If CDB does lead to reduced stress, it may have a positive secondary effect on blood pressure by reducing the stress that is causing blood pressure to rise.
How Does Delta-8 THC Affect Blood Pressure?
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the ingredient in marijuana that causes people to become high. There are multiple types of THC, and delta-8 THC is the subtype that is believed to potentially affect blood pressure. Animal experiments using delta-8 THC show that it can cause temporary increases in blood pressure. Research shows that this is potentially due to a vasoconstrictive effect that causes the arteries to narrow and tighten, increasing blood pressure.
Is Smoking Marijuana Bad for Your Heart?
Smoking marijuana is bad for your heart health, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Because marijuana can increase your blood pressure and make your heart beat faster, smoking marijuana can increase the risk of damage to your arteries. This can increase your risk of a stroke, heart attack or other diseases.
Can Marijuana Cause a Heart Attack?
Marijuana increases your risk of a heart attack, according to a study from Stanford University. People who smoke marijuana have increased inflammation of the arteries in the heart. This increases the risk that they will become damaged or blocked and cause a person to experience a heart attack. Marijuana primarily increases the risk of a heart attack when it is used somewhat frequently over a prolonged period of time.
Medical Marijuana for Blood Pressure
Because marijuana can ultimately lead to increased blood pressure, using the drug to treat blood pressure is generally not an accepted medical use — even in locations where marijuana is legal for medical use. It is important to note that marijuana is illegal at the federal level, so it is technically illegal everywhere in the United States.
In Florida, medical marijuana is permitted but only within certain limitations. A patient can only be prescribed medical marijuana if they have one of the following conditions:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- A terminal condition
- Chronic, nonmalignant pain
Someone who is using medical marijuana in Florida should be sure that they are complying with all state laws, as there are several restrictions on how it can be used.
Other Side Effects of Marijuana
Marijuana can cause many other side effects in addition to increasing blood pressure. Other significant side effects of marijuana include:
- Impaired memory
- Breathing problems
- Learning problems
- Child development problems during and after pregnancy
- Severe nausea and vomiting.
Some of these side effects will only be experienced when high concentrations of marijuana are used for a long period of time, while others may be experienced with a single episode of use.
Marijuana Addiction Rehab in Orlando, FL
Even though marijuana is thought of as a “safer” drug, it is still an addictive substance that can lead to side effects and increased medical risks. Marijuana addiction can be treated using outpatient care or a more intensive inpatient program that involves more robust treatment.
At Orlando Recovery Center Drug and Alcohol Rehab, we offer a wide range of treatment programs for marijuana addictionand co-occurring mental health conditions. Located just outside of downtown Orlando, our 93-bed rehab center is fully equipped with cutting-edge treatment facilities and a team of addiction experts dedicated to helping people find lasting recovery.
If you or someone you love is struggling with marijuana abuse and addiction, help is available. Contact us today to learn more about marijuana addiction treatment programs that can work well for your situation.
We can help answer your questions and talk through any concerns.
U.S. National Library of Medicine. “Marijuana.” MedlinePlus, January 24, 2019. Accessed July 28, 2022.
American Heart Association. “Understanding Blood Pressure Readings.” Accessed July 28, 2022.
Alshaarawy, Omayma; Elbaz, Hosam A. “Cannabis Use and Blood Pressure Levels: […] Survey, 2005–2012.” Journal of Hypertension, August 2016. Accessed July 28, 2022.
The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.